Mother’s Day this year was different for me. No. No one gave me flowers or called me a mother. I have been called a mother before but that was in a far different context. Previous celebrations usually involved my stopping off at the store on the way home from church with the kids to buy something we could all cook together — Alyssa an apple pie, Nate a fruit salad, myself a pasta salad and something for the grill, while Mir shopped for herself early into the afternoon while we prepared a nice lunch. The flower boxes on the front porch were also filled to greet her when she came home.
This year was different, though. Alyssa is four hours away at college. Nate is 15 years old and acting like it. I planted the flowers two weeks ago. Mother’s Day proved the transition our family is in, the time when our children are not little any more. Sad in some ways, happy in others, but true. There would be no meal together, no gathering with Mir and the kids.
So I did something different.
Alyssa had been asking when we were going to come visit her. Mir has been busy with her job, Nate with the school tennis team. I wanted to go see her on my own, but thought it better if I could convince Mir to come with me. What better day to do that than Mother’s Day? Right? Of course I am right! Miriam has a very good relationship with Alyssa. They needed to spend time together. I approached Miriam with that thought, told Alyssa what I was doing.. and Mir went for it. There was a caveat — Nate was being a 15 year old male and would not go, so Mir would only go to see Alyssa if we left early on Sunday and came back the same day. Easy. That I have done, so easy to agree to.
Mir has changed in the last year. I would never have been able to get her into the car, ready to go, with zero anxiety, by 5:30 AM prior to the past few months. We had to meet our daughter, who would be with her boyfriend and friends, at church in Muncie, Indiana before 11 AM. We were rolling at the time I prescribed, sailing on clear interstate, four hours alone together in my VW. Once I got past the teeth grinding, the trip was actually pleasant. She only screamed and grabbed the dashboard once the entire time.
I like the relationship the Mir has with Alyssa. Mir cherishes her daughter, has invested a lot of time in their relationship, and it shows. Her demeanor lit up as Alyssa bound out of the car to hug her and Mir turned into the positive person I don’t see enough of for the rest of the day. Alyssa was excited to see us both, especially wanted to share the church with the rocking gospel choir with me and with her mother. I could see why. The place rocked, even coaxing Miriam, buoyed by the presence of her daughter on her special day, to dance a little in place (I have never, ever seen that from her).
We took Alyssa and her friends to lunch at one of those combo Long John Silvers/A & W restaurants. I had to wear the paper pirate hat, something my daughter expected from me. Mir and I took Alyssa back to her dorm room, where we talked for a while. I excused myself to go take a nap in the car, let Mir have some time with her daughter. It was good for her and as we left Alyssa with her boyfriend after some coffee together, Mir thanked me for taking her — something I haven’t heard from her in a while.
Both of us frowned a bit as we drove away, though. Our daughter put on the freshman 10, probably more, and the shirt dress she was wearing revealed her heavy legs. Say what you want, but we were worried. We know that we can’t say anything to her about the weight gain. I am worried more about her getting her heart broken than anything else. Mir was worried about that and a myriad of other worries related to the weight gain, so much that eventually I had to change the subject.
This trip ended up being the most relaxed we have been together for as long as I can remember. We stopped for dinner on the way home, Mir fell asleep for the last two hours of the trip, giving me the break that I needed. She awoke as I drove into our neighborhood, exclaiming “How did we get here so fast?”.
I don’t always paint a positive picture of my wife here, a side I don’t often show. I am glad I got the chance, perhaps spending time with her on her favorite day helped.